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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Social media and the police

Politics Home has an interesting article about the issues faced by police officers who are keen users of socila media. The problem appears to be that it is easy to get carried away.

They say that an FOI request by the Press Association has revealed that there have been 828 disciplinary cases in England and Wales in the past five years, with some officers accused of making racist comments on social media:

In 9% of cases, the police officers resigned, retired or were dismissed – and it 14% there was no further action taken.

The Met police in London reported 69 incidents since 2009; Greater Manchester Police 88 and West Midlands reported 74.

Steve White, chairman, Police Federation of England and Wales says;

“Social media is an incredibly useful tool for engaging with local communities and gathering intelligence. Forces must ensure officers are effectively trained and aware of the latest social media protocols.

“Officers have an important story to tell and it is vital the public hears what they have to say.”

However, White reminded his rank and file members they are “always on duty and need to abide by the codes of conduct and ethics governing their behaviour”.

He added: “It is important to acknowledge that the majority of police officers perform their duties with the utmost integrity, discretion and in accordance with the high standards of behaviour rightly expected of them by the public.”

White said officers should feel free to be able to express themselves within those boundaries without the fear of censure. 

This applies to many other professions as well of course.
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